Cheap and Simple Quadcopter FPV Ideas

FPV is one of my ultimate goals flying a quadcopter. The quadcopter FPV videos are just so amazing! You need at least a video receiver, transmitter and a camera for the FPV system, and it could get quite expensive. I really want to get a feel of flying FPV, and I happen to have a Bluetooth Wireless camera hanging around from my previous Wall-E project. So I decided to do some modifications and turn it into a FPV system for my little beetle v929 quadcopter.

You can also use a camera to pair with a 5.8GHz Video Transmitter and Receiver. The type of camera you can use depends on what voltage you can provide, also the weight your quadcopter can carry. For the v929 quadcopter which runs on 3.3V, it’s possible to use a Spy Key chain camera (e.g. 808 #16) or a mini security camera (e.g. MC495A). I will describe the detail later in this post.

Update: For an even better solution, check my new FPV system post.

Bluetooth Wireless Camera Modification

The bluetooth camera has a 3.3V battery attached, since I can supply that directly from the quadcopter battery, I should remove it to reduce the weight.

IMAG0973

I also made a battery adapter to split the battery voltage supply into two. The original battery is soldered to a male connector, so I can still use it with the camera in other projects.

After the mod, the camera weights 22 grams.

IMAG0974

Attach this camera to the quadcopter, so video taken from the quadcopter can be displayed on the computer.

IMAG0975

This is the result. First 20 sec of the video shows the unloaded flying quadcopter, later the camera is loaded, and you can see the movement is slowed down a lot. It began to get difficult to stay in altitude because of the weight.

Also the quality is not very satisfying, bad latency and frame rate is low. We should come up with a better solution, and the weight should come first in consideration.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B32w1Z_k4-g

Keychain Camera or Mini Security Camera Modification

The 808#16 key chain camera weights about 17 grams (case stripped).
keychain  camera 808 Mini 808 #16 Car Key Chain Camera

While the mini security camera (MC495A) amazingly only weights 3 grams (claimed by product description, i have not verified this).

mini-security camera-MC495A-170
Both cameras can be run at 3.3V from the quadcopter Lipo battery, so they are perfect for this purpose.

For Video transmitters and receivers, you can also consider these parts suggested by Benji.

  • 2S 7.2v 3000mah lipo to power the monitor and receiver  = £10
  • RC305 Video Receiver = £15 RC305 Vido receiver - RX
  • TX5823 200mw 5.8ghx module from ebay = £15 TX5823 - video transmitter
  • N4001 diode for the video transmitter TX5823, to reduce th 3.7-4.2V of the fully charged lipo, to 3.3v to avoid burn out.1n4001 - diode
  • RG316 pigtail with RPSMA connectors. Hacked this to make the antenna, soldered outer shield cable to ground, centre cable to antenna. = £2RG316 pigtail with RPSMA connectors

The overall system costed about $110, which is not bad for a simple quadcopter FPV system. Here he shows his reult.

18 thoughts on “Cheap and Simple Quadcopter FPV Ideas

  1. Rodrigue B.

    Hi Oscar!
    I’m like to Jayanth R. I’d like to know which wireless bluetooth device camera you have used?
    Best regards.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      sorry i don’t recall, because i bought it back in 2012… try to search bluetooth wireless camera in ebay see if you can find anything similar.

      Reply
  2. Milton Padilla

    Hi Oscar:

    I want to know if can i watch in my cell phone what i`m watching in my LCD FPV ? how can i do that ?.

    Thanks for the tutorial’s

    Reply
  3. David

    I am doing a similar project and have a few questions. Are you controlling the copter via the FPV feed from the copter itself? What are you using for your base station and what is the latency from the FPV? Thank you!

    Reply
  4. Shella

    This excellent website truly has all of the information and facts I needed abot this subject and
    didn’t know who to ask.

    Reply
  5. Alyce

    I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether
    this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my difficulty.

    You’re incredible! Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Phuoc

    Hi, i love it. i like you project. and i hope you will send me all the details to my email. Or i can buy 1 that from you. Pm me pls. Thanks

    Reply
      1. jeferson

        hi im a ece student and I was amazed by you project, and i feel that I want to make one like yours,, can you tell me all the parts you use,especially the motors, remote contrl etc.

        tnx in advance

    1. Oscar

      Yes, but it’s not good. the Frame rate becomes too low when it gets more than 3 meters away.
      it’s still best to use dedicated RC video transmitter/receiver.

      Reply

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